Saturday, December 28, 1985

1985 Christmas (12/14, 25-28/1985)

Saturday, December 14, 1985
Tree trimming day.
Kyle and Erich
Kent stringing popcorn and cranberries
Kyle cutting out a snowflake
Our Christmas tree
Wednesday, December 25, 1985
We got the phone call at 7:00 and hurried in the fog over to Modena Avenue where the boys were anxious to come downstairs and open Christmas gifts. This year Barney’s son, Ben, was there. They had been allowed to open their stockings up in their rooms. This year they tore through the gifts in record time.
Erich and Kyle
Kyle opening a gift on the run
More clothes...
I helped get breakfast ready, and afterwards we went home, by 9:15. We had our gift exchange, and I had gotten three Japanese prints framed for Kent, and I gave him a beard trimmer. He also received a nice shirt and tie, and Trivia Bits crackers from Kathy Cunningham. I received a Dansk apron from Julia, Pyrex measuring cups from Beard, and a watch from John Cameron Swayze (known from the Timex commercials)! Santa gave me a net necklace and silver hoop earrings, candles and a pewter candle holder, and a shower curtain from Les Toiles. We then started using our gifts.

Thursday, December 26, 1985
Kent had to do some business while I went to pick up Kyle and Erich, and we came back in time for the arrival of Kent’s parents.
Erich, Kyle, and Kent
Grandma S
Grandpa S
Kyle and Erich model their sunglasses
After more gifts, we had dinner of Cornish hens with rice and green beans with almonds.

Friday, December 27, 1985
After lunch, the grandparents took Kyle and Erich to their hotel to use the swimming pool. Kent and I waited for the Bs, but when they didn’t show, we called to learn they thought the event was tomorrow! We tried to find other takers for the tickets to the Pierre-Auguste Renoir exhibit at the Boston Fine Arts Museum, but no go. We were ready to go by ourselves, when Jim called back to say Susie had a cancellation and they found a sitter, so they could go after all! We left together at 15:00 and arrived in the parking lot at 16:00, the time stated on our tickets! So we got in to the exhibit that was large and well lighted. It was arranged in such a way that it was difficult to get consistent good views of the paintings, and it was very crowded and very stuffy. However, we saw some magnificent paintings. It was interesting to see the variety of styles, how Renoir was influenced, and how he seemed to be one of the first Impressionists, but rejected it totally at one point, only to return to the style again! He supposedly developed the Impressionist style with Claude Monet in such paintings as “Le Pont Neuf,” “La Loge/Theater Box,” and “La Balançoire/The Swing” (all different to my eye!).
Renoir was accused of not growing and maturing, but foundering as he lost direction. But perhaps he was always being innovative, original? Others view him as the sole inventor and practitioner of Impressionism with visible brush strokes, a pervasive light, and a rainbow palette. We saw some of this in “La Promenade,” “Claude Monet Reading,” and more so in “Nude in the Sunlight,” “Woman at the Piano,” and also “The Swing.”
Renoir has also been accused of putting people in linear straitjackets/straight jackets as in “Children’s Afternoon at Wargemont,” but that seems to be inevitable when doing commissioned portraits. Certainly his later people were not linearly bound, but simply and amply nude (“The Judgment of Paris” and many “Bathers”)! Renoir was influenced by Raffaelo, Titiano, and Peter Paul Rubens, though admittedly was not as good as they were.
Renoir was also accused of empty edges, which I never really noticed before. He did use background effectively, such as the one painting with flowers forcefully to the forefront, and the subjects in the background; unique. The voids also focus one’s attention on the subjects, and I saw nothing wrong with “The Sleeping Girl” or the “Box at the Opera.” The critic liked the busier “Moulin de la Galette,” but he accused Renoir of having cluttered canvasses like “Seine at Argenteuil.”
Renoir was varied in his use of color, from bright palettes to subdued hues, which can be contrasted in different paintings of “Girls at the Piano.” Although one critic feels that many paintings ooze sentimentality and sweetness, I did not get that feeling. It did seem like Renoir would sit out on the lawn with a fellow artist and simply whip up a painting, as if a mere hobby. He was prolific.
One all-time favorite was “Dance at Bougival,” that one critic felt was a great storytelling vehicle, to let the imagination figure what will happen next. It also expressed a “joie de vivre,” and it is true that none of his paintings were depressing. He tried to make his subjects more beautiful, and his women sensuous. Also his subject matter in the Impressionist style was more varied than the landscapes of his fellow Impressionists Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro. I was glad to see the Renoir collection, but if they are going to criticize him so much, it would have been helpful to see the paintings to which he was compared.
After the exhibit, we looked through the museum gift shop, then drove to Newbury Street to do some (window) shopping. We went to the Harvard Bookstore and Café (yes, they were combined!). We had dinner at the Taste of Thailand. The others ordered beer, and I got an iced tea, because it seems water makes spicy hot foods hotter! We shared four appetizers, a chicken soup made with coconut milk, strangely sweet to my taste, wonderful spring rolls, fried egg and shrimp balls, and a salad with a spicy peanut sauce. For the main courses we had a Seafood Dynasty that was not as hot as its one star indicated, but was still tasty with shrimp, scallops, squid, celery, cashews, and mushrooms. There was a one star spicy salad with chicken and shrimp, rice noodles, lemon grass, etc. The yellow chicken curry dish was the spiciest, and had potatoes in it. The Chicken Volcano was good with Cornish hen quarters basted with a sweet herb sauce and dipped in a very hot sweet and sour sauce. The Bs got the dessert of vanilla ice cream with coconut, lychee nuts, corn kernels, and mango bits. The total bill was $75.

Saturday, December 28, 1985
Kyle had basketball practice this morning, but after a brunch with the grandparents, Kyle and Erich went to the hotel again for swimming. Kent and I did errands. Later Cathy and Don M came for egg nog and cookies. After dinner, we said our goodbyes to Kent's parents who are leaving tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 1985

1985 Essex, CT (12/22-23/1985)

Sunday, December 22, 1985
After lunch at 13:15, we started driving to Essex, CT, arriving at 14:45 and checked into the Griswold Inn. Simple, nice old furniture and a bathroom with a shower.
Room at the Griswold Inn
Kent at the Griswold Inn
We turned down the piped in music and went out to explore Main Street with all the little shops and boutiques. We read the Essex historical marker, then returned to our room. At 18:45 we heard Jan & Kirby coming up the stairs. There was a large yellow tabby cat snoozing on the narrow steps. We greeted J&K, then we all changed into evening wear and headed downstairs for our 19:00 dinner reservation.
The main dining room was crowded and very noisy. Service was slow because they were so busy. A fire was blazing in the hearth and the decoration was nautical and Christmas-y. Kent and Kirby got an apéritif of champagne with a raspberry liqueur. For an appetizer I had clam chowder with a celery taste, and Jan had the Boss’ Favorite, a vegetable soup. Kirby had the country pâté and Kent had smoked salmon. We noticed that other tables had crackers and condiments, and had the busboy bring us ours. There was a corn relish, cottage cheese with chives, and a garlic spread for the crackers and breadsticks. Then warm rolls arrived, and salads with the dressing on the side. Kent had fried oysters and I had the Carpetbagger special of a butterflied filet mignon and fried oysters with a Béarnaise sauce. Jan had broiled bay scallops and Kirby had roast beef, a sizable chunk. We each also had a baked potato and sautéed zucchini. Later the others had coffee, and we shared a piece of chocolate buttercream pie that was like a fine chocolate mousse pie. The bill with tip came to $140, which also included a bottle of red wine, and a half bottle of white wine.
There was a German woman who was going around seeing what people had for dinner, and generally wandering. Later she complained to the maître d' that the waitress was treating her like an enemy, and that she ordered moose, but was given something else. (They had venison, rabbit, moose, goose, pheasant, and quail on the Christmas menu.) And this had caused a rift between her and her husband…
We went to our room to exchange gifts with J&K and talk until midnight.

Monday, December 23, 1985
It had snowed during the night, creating a New England winter wonderland. We met Jan and Kirby in the library at 9:30 for breakfast. It was self-serve with tomato juice, coffee, and a variety of teas. Plus English muffins, oranges and cantaloupe. After breakfast we checked out and took a walk down Main Street.
Griswold Inn sihn
Griswold Inn 
Main Street door with boxwood tree
Main Street house
Main Street houses
We had to say our goodbyes and we left at 11:25 to drive Kent to work at BIF by 12:30.

Saturday, November 9, 1985

1985 Lafayette Trout Hatchery, RI (11/9/1985)

Saturday, November 9, 1985
As we checked our RI guide, Kyle wanted to do something different and we decided to visit the Lafayette Trout Hatchery in Wickford, RI. It was a beautiful day and we easily found the place. No one else was around. We wandered around the fenced caged pools, and board-fenced areas along a channeled stream to see thousands of trout from four inches to about a foot or so long.
Four-inch trout
Foot-long trout
More trout
We walked along the stream, which had aerators with noisy pumps along the way. Most of the stream was caged over. There was also a huge pond covered with lines of brightly colored rope strung at 1-2 foot intervals to keep out predatory birds.
Covered pond
The fish were really crowded, and we saw some jumping up into a “waterfall” from a pipe. We also peeked into a building that had tanks of teeny tiny fish of down to an inch in length. Along the way were a couple dead or dying fish, but there were plenty of live ones! As we approached each pool, the fish began to thrash about with some nearly jumping out of the water. We figured they thought we were going to feed them, and this theory was confirmed when a man came out of the building with buckets of fish food. We watched as they thrashed when he approached to feed them.

We then drove to Charlestown to find an Indian burial ground. Instead we found a housing development, so we headed home.

Thursday, October 31, 1985

1985 Edaville Railroad, MA (10/27/1985)

Sunday, October 27, 1985
Kent had inventory at BIF again, but was home when we came back from Sunday School. After lunch we drove out I-195 to I-495 to South Carver, MA. Found the Edaville Railroad, and paid a total of $12 to enter.
Edaville Railroad adult ticket
Edaville railroad child ticket
We headed for the train ride, but got sidetracked by locomotives and trolleys to climb in and on.
They were also painting and putting together their Christmas display, so we saw signs of Christmas all around. We passed the amusement rides and found the train. It was full of people, but we climbed aboard an open car and people squeezed together to let us sit. We took off at 14:30 for the 5-1/2 mile ride around the cranberry plantation.
Cranberry bog
The railroad was bought by Ellis Atwood, a RR buff, to help maintain and harvest the cranberry bogs; 1800 acres! It is the largest cranberry plantation in the world, soon to become a public attraction, and is open during cranberry season. We were pulled by a real steam locomotive, and went through woods beginning to be filled with the trappings of their Christmas Light Extravaganza, with figures made of plywood. We circled the reservoir with its miniature boat docks, lighthouses, and church.
We stopped to watch them actually harvesting the cranberries right in front of us! These bogs had been flooded, and there are machines that agitate to dislodge the berries, which then float to the surface.

Machines to loosen the cranberries
The berries are “corralled” and sucked up into trucks.
Corralling the cranberries
Cranberry truck, and a couple Christmas decorations
Billions and billions of cranberries!
Steam locomotive
Edaville RR train
Back at the train station we bought some ride tickets, and Kyle and Erich also went in the free air-inflated bounce house. Kyle wanted to go to the museum where we saw a large collection of model trains and paraphernalia. One area had real Pullman cars, fire engines, and a few old automobiles. There was a working player piano. We left to let the boys go on a couple more rides, and they really enjoyed “driving” the miniature model Ts.
Home by 16:00.

Thursday, October 31, 1985
Happy Halloween!
Kyle as the Werewolf
Erich as the Karate Kid

Monday, October 14, 1985

1985 Sunapee, NH (10/13-14/1985)

Sunday, October 13, 1985
After lunch we drove to New Hampshire in the pouring rain. It took us only a couple hours to get to Sunapee, then probably another hour to find the Inn at Sunapee!
Inn at Sunapee brochure
I finally saw a sign, and we followed a couple, but lost them when we rounded the lake. We retraced our path, and eventually found the inn in the hills behind the town. We checked in and were taken through the wood alpine-type dining room to our simple bedroom upstairs. There was a double and a single bed, and a bathroom with a molded acrylic shower. One corner had wicker furniture and an old dresser on which sat a little black and white TV that Kent immediately turned on!
Inn at Sunapee
Soon we left to make our way to the Follansbee Inn. It was still light enough to follow the north edge of Lake Sunapee. We plunged into a dark forest and came to Kezar Lake, where a seaplane was parked. We arrived early at the lakefront inn, an early 1800s farmhouse of two stories. Two more stories were added in 1928. The entry hallway was full of antiques, and they were okay to seat us before our 19:00 reservation, in the back of the dining room. There was a hurricane lamp on the table. The waitress brought over the menu which was written on a blackboard on an easel. Kent ordered a bottle of wine that was brought by our host, Dick. He didn’t have exactly the wine we wanted, and explained the intricacies of buying alcohol in New Hampshire. At least it was a Chardonnay. We shared a couple appetizers, a spinach-filled filo dough and clam chowder. There was a loaf of freshly baked bread with whipped butter, and salads. Kent had goose with raspberry sauce and rice pilaf. I had stuffed shrimp and a baked potato. For dessert was chocolate pecan pie à la mode! Sandy, our hostess, brought the bill. We returned to our lodgings and Kent watched a baseball game on TV.

Monday, October 14, 1985
Happy Columbus Day!
The $55/night charge for the room included breakfast that was served at 9:30. There was orange juice and coffee. We had blueberry pancakes over the egg entrées, and I had bacon while Kent had sausage.
We checked out and drove back to Kezar Lake to take a photo of Follansbee Inn.
Follansbee Inn
The fall foliage was pretty with the nearby cemetery.
Fall foliage at cemetery
Kezar Lake
We continued south to an area full of lakes that was a summer resort, and the surrounding hills were for skiing in the winter. There is also cross country skiing across frozen lakes in the winter.
We traveled through hilly wooded areas and small towns. In one college town, Henniker, we saw a covered bridge farther down a stream from the main road. It was not easy to get to, but Kent found the way by driving around the town and into the New England College athletic fields area!
View from the covered bridge
Covered bridge
Covered bridge
Magenta colored tree
We continued south, and as the land flattened out, we began seeing antique shops. We stopped at a few that were open. We did buy a small oak table for $25 in Goffstown. The woman proprietor had put her baby down for a nap, and we could hear him on an intercom. The woman called her grandfather to find out the kind of finish that was on the table. She also gave us directions for the antique route. We drove along SR 13 and stopped at a couple shops in Mont Vernon. One guy had some remarkable pieces hidden amongst his junk, but according to the price stickers, he knew it. Farther on in Milford, there was an antique co-op, which seemed to have good prices, and had every type of antique and collectible possible.
We headed west to Peterborough and stopped for lunch at a new restaurant called Jake Copley’s that was in a greenhouse. The menu was amusing with items named after current stars, such as the Tuna Turner Sandwich, etc. One had to read the entire menu! Kent had a Royal Canadian Mounted Baconburger, and I had a BLT. An antique car in the parking lot drew a lot of attention.
We found the Brookstone outlet, to check out all their gadgetry, and the Eastern Mountain Sportswear outlet. We continued home, arriving about 16:00.